As even the crumbs of freedoms left in the country are weaning off and any demonstration immediately is banned, college graduation ceremonies become the venues where students protest the dictatorship in Turkey
As even the crumbs of freedoms left in the country are weaning off and any demonstration immediately is banned, college graduation ceremonies become the venues where students protest the dictatorship in Turkey.
Only last week, the police raided the homes of students prior to the Middle East Technical University graduation ceremonies in Ankara trying to prevent any embarrassing banners to appear in the event the next day. The police had listed certain students as “having potential to carry banners” in the ceremony. The “potential protester” students were detained. However, this didn’t deter the students carrying banners for freedom, equality, and against the jihadist fascism.
This week, during the graduation ceremony of Bogazici University in Istanbul, the same tradition continued. Students displayed banners protesting disappearing freedoms, lack of meaningful jobs, attacks on political freedoms and opposition politicians.
One banner that read, “Freedom to Demirtas and all Political Prisoners” especially caught the attention of the authorities. Demirtas is the president of the opposition party HDP who has been imprisoned with trumped up charges and is awaiting the end of his lengthy trial. He was arrested about two years ago, as many other party officials, to prevent loss of votes for the ruling AKP party.
The authorities raided the home of the student who carried the banner. That is when the student learned he was being investigated. The “suspect” will be charged with “praising a criminal or a crime.” The student will be defending his banner in court stating, “The demand for Mr. Demirtas’s freedom is being voiced by thousands of people, politicians or social leaders everyday already.” He doesn’t think his banner broke any laws.